A first look at the Maple Leafs’ upcoming free agent defencemen and goaltenders

As the Leafs prepare for a pivotal fourth game in Sunrise, there is obviously a lot on the line. We all know what’s at stake, but perhaps many of us haven’t considered that this could be the last time we see a handful of players don the blue and white. The below list looks at Toronto’s upcoming free agents with some objective stats and brief analysis (plenty more to come following the conclusion of the playoffs). I’ll start with the goaltenders and defencemen, and dive into the forwards in another article.
Erik Kallgren – RFA
Kallgren has not enjoyed the best of years. He has undoubtedly slid down the pecking order over the duration of the season. He hasn’t dominated in the AHL and his middling numbers show no sign of progression after last year. Having played 10 games for the Maple Leafs this season, he would have hoped that his play would have taken a step forward from the 14 that he suited up for last season. Kallgren turns 27 this upcoming fall and is an RFA.
Ilya Samsonov – RFA
We will definitely elaborate on Samsonov and what’s next for him at the end of the season. He has exceeded expectations this year, and will certainly be back between the crease next year for the Maple Leafs. A first- …

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Author: Bennett Jull / The Leafs Nation

Leafs need to be flexible with Knies, Holmberg should be an option, and the 11/7: Leaflets

Tonight the Leafs make their fourth attempt at eliminating the Lightning from the playoffs, the second attempt this season. The previous three haven’t gone particularly well, but as the saying goes, the fourth or fifth time is the charm. And if you are looking for some additional optimism, the Leafs haven’t been defeated in three straight games since October so with this current iteration of the Leafs the wheels seem far less likely to come off. I’m sure absolutely none of that is comforting and when it comes to all the numbers, being favourites in the series, and the knowledge that this dynasty of failure can’t go on forever, it doesn’t change that an entire generation hasn’t seen the Leafs live up to their potential. It would be great if that changes tonight and we can raise the bar from “just win a round” to “win it all.”
Deploying Knies differently
It was very cool to see Knies up in the top six for game five. We won’t reflect on how that game went for the Leafs, but certainly no one is hanging anything on Knies and he has established himself as a competitor that Sheldon Keefe wanted out with the best of the Leafs forwards to …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Nicolas Aube-Kubel brings a different kind of intensity to the Maple Leafs lineup

Over the last few seasons, the Maple Leafs’ fourth line has featured grit and skill over everything else, but that’s about to change a little bit with the addition of Nicolas Aube-Kubel.
He began the 2021-22 campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers, being in the organization since being drafted by them back in 2014. The 26-year-old spent four seasons in the NHL on the Flyers, leaving the organization with 50 points in 169 games.
Aube-Kubel was placed on waivers back in November by Philadelphia — only seven games into the 2021 season. 24 hours later, he was a part of the Colorado Avalanche, and well, the rest is history.
He won the Stanley Cup, dropped the Stanley Cup, and then signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Maple Leafs. Everything you’d want in a player, right?
The 26-year-old, in 67 games with the Avalanche, was able to put up 22 points before the regular season came to a close. But his impact doesn’t come from being on the score sheet — it’s from his commitment to being a very difficult player to go up …

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs select Nikita Grebenkin with the 135th pick in the 2022 NHL Draft

With their fourth selection of the 2022 NHL Draft, the Leafs have selected overaged forward Nikita Grebenkin out of Magnitogorsk’s system.

Welcome to Toronto, Nikita#NHLDraft | #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/iZ2qo37ZaS
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 8, 2022

Grebenkin is a 6’2″, 176 pound forward who got into just one game at the KHL level last season but put up 17 goals and 47 assists in 58 MHL games. He is a skilled and dynamic forward with good vision who played with 2022 first-rounder Danila Yurov. His puck skills are his greatest attribute as he has the ability to create chances for his teammates by opening up space and beating defenders one-on-one. There is still room for him to improve his play away from the puck but this is the kind of high-upside swing we have come to expect from Kyle Dubas and his staff in the middle rounds of the draft.

#Leafs take LW Nikita Grebyonkin with the 135th overall pick. Overage Russian who had elite playmaking results in the junior league, a high shot rate that imply more goal upside, and was superb two-way. Don’t really know until he plays pro though, listed at 6’2 pic.twitter.com/R889pTEmlp
— Kyle Cushman (@Kyle_Cush) July 8, 2022

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Leafs’ 2022 NHL Draft picks.
(Statistics from EliteProspects.com)
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The Leafs select Dennis Hildeby with the 122nd pick in the 2022 NHL Draft by Nick Richard
PointsBet is live in Ontario. Get started here. …

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Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation